Len Klie

In Contact Centers, Voice Is Still King

Despite the rise in the use of non-voice channels for customer support, phone is still king, according to research released recently by inContact and Qualtrics The survey found that agents use phone-based support 86 percent of the time.

The new research indicates a steady increase in non-voice channels for customer service, and CSRs are using multiple channels simultaneously, and often for the same customer. Email is the second most-popular channel with 46 percent of CSRs using email to interact with customers, followed by online chat channels at 16 percent. However, at 86 percent, phone support usage was nearly twice as much as email and used more than five times more often than chat channels. Additionally, when asked to rank the most effective communication channel for resolving customer issues, CSRs again chose voice channels well ahead of email, chat, social media or text messages.

Advanced self-service technologies, such as a customizable interactive voice response (IVR) paired with a robust automatic call distributor (ACD), alongside progressive analytics, relieve some of the technical support burden and create a more productive and efficient customer service workforce.

“Customer service has quickly become a key differentiator for companies fighting for the consumer’s favor, and CSRs are arguably the most crucial part of a high-quality customer experience,” noted Paul Jarman, CEO inContact. “The valuable insights gained through this research provides a better understanding of the work environment faced by most customer service representatives.”

“Customer service, and specifically contact centers, are an important part of almost any organization. At times, however, they are looked upon as a cost-center rather than a crucial and valued business asset,” Jarman continued. “Through advancements of established technologies, and the introduction of new functionality and cloud capabilities, contact centers are evolving into valuable contributors to an enterprise’s bottom line.”